Ridgewater Dean of Students Heidi Olson receives Phi Theta Kappa award for student support

Ridgewater Dean of Students Heidi Olson will be honored at the Phi Theta Kappa annual convention in April in Columbus, Ohio.

Heidi Olson
Heidi Olson
Contributed / Ridgewater College

WILLMAR — Ridgewater College Dean of Students Heidi Olson has received a Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society 2023 Distinguished College Administrator award for her outstanding support of student success, according to a news release from Ridgewater College.

A Ridgewater alumnus and 33-year employee born and raised in Willmar, Olson has been dean of students for 18 years. She oversees the college Phi Theta Kappa student chapter with faculty adviser Dr. Bradley Wolfe, who nominated Olson along with PTK students.

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“We appreciate Heidi’s creative problem-solving, her understanding of academic excellence, and how she highlights how our community college is a smart option for students,” Wolfe said in the news release.

In the nomination application, Olson was commended for “working hard to provide more opportunities and stronger pathways to completion, transfer, and employment. (Students) know you support their learning both inside and outside the classroom, and as a result, they have a better college experience because of you."

Examples of Olson's support included in the nomination application were helping to increase PTK awareness through visible student-led activities after low engagement times during the COVID pandemic, improving PTK accessibility through innovative hybrid connections that better engaged online students and others who appreciated the new virtual option, merging the Hutchinson and Willmar PTK chapters and supportively training the new faculty adviser for leadership and student success.


Olsonsaid in the release that she feels it’s really a shared honor with Wolfe and students.

“Actual recognition should go to them also for the hard work they have put into rebuilding and merging the chapters.”

Olson and other recognized college leaders will be honored at the PTK annual convention in April in Columbus, OH.

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